I’ve been thinking a great deal over the years about the way we communicate the “good news” about Jesus to men. We wonder why we see so few men becoming followers of Jesus but fail to effectively and analytically look at the message we are communicating, the way we are communicating it and who we are communicating it too.
So, here are a few blog posts over a few weeks about telling ordinary men about Jesus.
I strongly believe that the church is failing to operate behind enemy lines. As far as I can see, the UK church is rarely in the front line trenches of proclamation and hardly ever behind enemy lines. Check this very simple diagram out:-
Dave (mark 1) is not a Christian. He doesn’t give a stuff about what you believe unless he’s had a couple of beers. He is after-all, like most men, an expert on everything already. Sure he likes to row with you in the pub but for the most part he doesn’t really care about church stuff and its not at the top of his list of hot topics to discuss with his mates. Working class Dave wrote the church off years ago.
So who is Dave? Well, Dave drinks beer, loves football (West Ham of course) and thinks that Jeremy Clarkson (if you don’t know who he is, you need to get out more) should be Prime Minister. He has a skilled manual labour job, only goes to church when someone gets married, drops dead or chucks water on their kids head before having a few beers and a roast dinner. He doesn’t care about atheism, creationism or any other ism. He’s a bloke.
Then there’s Dave (mark 2). Dave is a full on fired up follower of Jesus. He prays, tithes, has a quiet time and feels guilty when he doesn’t. He goes to the mid-week prayer meeting and a home group. He smiles at the little kids in the church and helps out sometimes at crèche. He happily sits through long sermons and sings emotional songs to a man. He has embraced churchianity and christianity. He is Dave redeemed, tamed and cleaned up. (More on the “taming of the Dave” in future weeks).
There is however a massive problem. Most church evangelism starts where the church is on the diagram. Way too far along the scale of belief. To go on an Alpha course, you need to be prepared to sit and have a meal with a stranger, over a structured 10 week course, attend a Holy Spirit weekend and share your feelings. Alpha is amazing as is Christianity Explored. But to attend you have to be prepared to want the conversation and be fairly committed to seeing it through. You’ve also got to be able to work through some real church sub-culture stuff and get the jargon. (More on this issue in future editions as well). He’s also got to filter a message that tells him that he’s needy and needs a saviour.
Basically, it’s not going to happen is it? Or if it does its rare. Sure, someone will write to me and tell me how Dave came through but its not happening in massive numbers is it.
The church needs to learn how to operate in the realm and world of Dave (mark 1) and that friends, is behind enemy lines. At CVM we view it as a massive victory if we move a bloke along the scale of belief. Get a debate going with Dave that’s not beer fueled and you’ve won a skirmish behind the lines. He accepts an offer of prayer and you’ve neutralised a defensive shield. Get him to your church blokes clay pigeon shoot and bonfire and you’ve taken an enemy position out.
Firstly of course you’ve got to get behind enemy lines and to do that you’ve actually got to make some mates who aren’t followers of Jesus. I kid you not when I tell you that I know evangelists who haven’t got any mates who aren’t followers of Jesus. So lets get out there.
Future blogs will cover:- jargon, what is good news to a man, church for men and more.
As a final note, you’ll realise that this blog is about actually telling people about Jesus. The UK church is swamped just now with loads of political and social justice activity. I’m deeply involved in some of this activity. Its all good stuff but I appeal to you that we mustn’t lose proclamation. As far as I’m concerned, the biggest injustice of all is that people die without knowing Jesus.